When it comes to malls, bigger seems to be better. In many cases, the largest malls are the most productive. As a result of industry consolidation, however, store counts in a number of retail categories including fashion have been declining. Increasingly, large shopping centers are chasing fewer available tenants, so retailers may be in a position to drive a harder bargain. But whether or not the retail industry contracts — chains will expand once the economy improves — is a moot point. There’s no land left to build huge malls.
GENERAL MERCHANDISE MALLS 1 MILLION SQUARE FEET OR GREATER
Mall stores: $361.09; Anchors: $200.07
Malls in the pipeline and those constructed recently are bigger than their counterparts of the last decade. One reason for this is intense competition between shopping centers and the conventional wisdom among developers that believes the biggest property makes the strongest impression. Dolphin Mall, a 1.4 million-square-foot project, opened in 2001 in Hollywood, Fla. with value-priced retailers such as Old Navy, Marshalls and Oshman’s SuperSports USA.
ENCLOSED MALLS 1 MILLION SQUARE FEET OR GREATER
Mall stores: $352.07; Anchors: $195.10
Construction of large, enclosed malls, such as the 1.3 million-square-foot Westfield Shoppingtown Wheaton, is down 70 percent since 1996, as time-pressed shoppers opt for the convenience and value of discount stores. Nonetheless, regional malls such as Wheaton generally post enviable demographics, drawing 1.2 million consumers with average household incomes of $92,254 from a 10-mile radius.
FASHION-ORIENTED MALLS 1 MILLION SQUARE FEET OR GREATER
Mall stores: $318.52; Anchors: $195.10
The Fashion Show Mall in Las Vegas is adding more than 1 million square feet to bring the total gross leasable space to 1.9 million square feet. It will have eight anchor department stores, including the Las Vegas debut of Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor and Bloomingdale’s Home. Neiman Marcus is spending about $50 million to expand its Fashion Show store to 200,000 square feet.
ENCLOSED MALLS 800,000 TO 999,999 SQUARE FEET
Mall stores: $302.69; Anchors: $170
Competition between malls has made size a major object. Of the 28 malls that opened between 1998 and 2000, only five were under 1 million square feet: Oviedo Crossing in Orlando; The Block, a value-oriented Mills center in Orange, Calif.; the Promenade at Temecula in Temecula, Calif.; the Mall at Bay Plaza in the Bronx, and Prescott Mall in Prescott, Ariz.
GENERAL MERCHANDISE MALLS 800,000 TO 999,999 SQUARE FEET
Mall stores: $301.06; Anchors: $161
Developers have coined terms such as “megamalls” to describe these centers, where entertainment such as multiscreen cinemas and food — steak houses or night clubs, not the ubiquitous food court — is often a large part of the mix. The 800,000-square-foot Circle Centre in Indianapolis includes anchor stores such as Nordstrom and Parisian, 100 specialty shops, a nine-screen cinema, Steven Spielberg’ GameWorks Studio and the Indianapolis Artsgarden.
GENERAL MERCHANDISE MALLS 500,000 TO 799,999 SQUARE FEET
Mall stores: $270.96; Anchors: $158.98
In the late Eighties, malls in this size range typically had one full-line department store. Today, they can have several department stores, ranging from off-pricers to upscale, or a number of big box users. There’s no set format and anchors of different varieties have been found to co-exist quite nicely.
ENCLOSED MALLS 500,000 TO 799,999 SQUARE FEET
Mall stores: $269; Anchors: $174.06
Enclosed malls with less than 799,999 square feet of gross leasable space tend to be in secondary markets. These regional centers often pull customers from a primary trade area of 5 to 15 miles, compared with larger super-regional malls that attract shoppers from as far as 25 miles away with a larger assortment of stores.
FASHION-ORIENTED MALLS 500,000 TO 799,999 SQUARE FEET
Mall stores: $262.20; Anchors: $174.34
Riverside Square Mall, a 638,169-square-foot mall in Hackensack, N.J., draws from densely populated Bergen and Passaic counties and beyond. More than 3.5 million people live within the center’s 10-mile radius. Based on the population and its average household income of $73,948, Riverside Square does better than the $262.20 average-sales-per-square-foot formats of its kind.
POWER STRIP CENTERS 200,000 SQUARE FEET OR GREATER
Nonanchors: $248.44; Anchors: $224.21
After being hit by a string of retail bankruptcies and closures in the past few years, power centers are popular again. Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy and Kohl’s are attractive to a range of shoppers. For example, the wealthy residents of Middlesex, Somerset and Hunterdon, N.J. are not above saving a few pennies at Wal-Mart Plaza in Clinton. The 227,442-square-foot center caters to about 100,000 residents with average yearly household incomes of $108,187.
ENCLOSED MALLS 250,000 TO 499,999 SQUARE FEET
Mall stores: $205.46; Anchors: $142.46
Newer malls under 500,000 square feet are often built as open-air “lifestyle centers,” where product categories, such as home goods or apparel and restaurants are grouped together for easier shopping.
COMMUNITY STRIP CENTERS 200,000 SQUARE FEET OR GREATER
Nonanchors: $200.62; Anchors: $287.77
Strip centers, which are often anchored by supermarkets, are keenly aware of Wal-Mart stores’ growing prominence within the grocery sector. However, Wal-Mart has typically opened in secondary and tertiary markets. The giant retailer has also had trouble finding sites in larger and more densely populated areas.
NEIGHBORHOOD STRIP CENTERS LESS THAN 40,000 SQUARE FEET
Nonanchors: $183.25; Anchors: $261.50
Service tenants such as doctors are working their way into these small centers as consolidation continues among national retailers that would normally occupy such spaces. Supermarkets, which are adding businesses such as banks and florists, are also posing a threat to small neighborhood malls.
GENERAL MERCHANDISE MALLS 250,000 TO 499,999 SQUARE FEET
Mall stores: $180.86; Anchors: $138.44
Anchored by Mervyn’s, Sears and Gottschalks, the 494,327-square-foot County East Mall in Antioch, Calif., has 65 specialty stores, services and restaurants. National retailers include Victoria’s Secret, Anchor Blue, Sam Goody, Foot Locker, Regis Hairstylists, Suncoast Motion Pictures and Bath & Body Works. The area’s average household income is $64,667.
COMMUNITY STRIP CENTERS 100,000 TO 199,999 SQUARE FEET
Nonanchors: $173.60; Anchors: $216.72
Small community strip centers are concerned about the possibility of consolidation among major drugstores. Already, Duane Reade, CVS and Walgreens seem to battling it out in the New York area, and experts say that a trade area can sustain only two national retailers of a product line.
NEIGHBORHOOD STRIP CENTERS 40,000 TO 99,999 SQUARE FEET
Nonanchors: $164.58; Anchors: $352.32
In November 2001, Tice’s Corner Marketplace opened on Chestnut Ridge Road in the Northern New Jersey township of Woodcliff Lake. The lifestyle center has 20 stores, including Anthropologie and Apple Computer, and has tried to take an active interest in the community by hosting a fall Halloween party on the mall’s grounds.
SOURCE: THE SCORE, SHOPPING CENTER OPERATIONS, REVENUE AND EXPENSES, 2002 EDITION, ICSC RESEARCH AND ORIGINAL REPORTING